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Articles written by Mike Wilkinson

My Experience Taking the FAA Part 107 UAS Test to Fly Drones for Video Work

I recently earned my Remote Pilot Certification, which allows me to fly a small UAS (drone) for paid photo and video work in the USA, under the FAA’s Part 107 rule. With no background in aviation, passing the test was no easy feat for me. If you’re considering taking the test yourself, read about my experiences to make sure you’re well prepared.

'The Light in Your Eye' Explores Catch Lights and How They Impact Your Image

In this thoughtful video from Dedo Weigert, "catch lights" (or "eye lights") are analyzed in-depth, with many examples and explanations as to what different effects are created by their use. Placement, intensity, shape, and direction can all play a subtle but very important role in when it comes to a catch light, and what a director or cinematographer wants to communicate from their character can drive that decision.

'Stranger Things' Gives Us a Free Lesson in Video Editing with these 28 Creative Cuts

Once you start doing a lot of video editing, watching your favorite movie or TV show is never quite the same. The way dialogue scenes are cut together, the framing of characters in a shot, and of course scene transitions. In this supercut from the popular TV Show "Stranger Things," see how the editor used a variety of cuts to create compelling transitions.

Guy Goes Around NYC Chopping Selfie Sticks in This (Hopefully Staged) Video

In case you haven’t seen this video pop up yet in your social media feeds, check out Comedian Buddy Bolton sneaking up on unsuspecting pedestrians who have stopped to take a selfie. Instead of photobombing though, he had a different plan: cutting their selfie stick in half with gardening shears.

An In-Depth Look at the Video Features of the Canon 5D Mark IV

Just three days ago, the new Canon 5D Mark IV dropped, and while it's a great stills camera, all of the talk has been about what it can and can't do in the video department. This video takes a much closer look at many of those features in the Mark IV, going through menu functions and showing examples. I've included a list of the topics covered along with their time in the video within the article below.

Gear and Tips for Lighting a Table Scene or Roundtable Discussion

In this video from Aputure, Director of Photography Julia Swain is invited to share her techniques for lighting a dinner table scene, which are common to film productions, but also have applications in the corporate and documentary video world. After the video, check out some of my own personal examples from lighting a similar setup, but instead for a corporate roundtable with an all black background.

DJI Phantom 4 Used to Create Beautiful 4K Video in 'An Aerial Perspective of Nordland'

Lofoten, Norway has been getting a lot of attention in the last few years, and rightfully so. Known for its incredible mountains, open waters, and unspoiled lands, it has quickly become a favorite for photographers looking to capture dramatic landscape images. Australian filmmaker Michael Fletcher took two trips here recently and came away with a fantastic aerial film, captured during the season of the midnight sun.

Using the Canon 1DC in the Alaskan Wilderness to Capture a Short Film in 4K

The filmmakers of “The Muir Project,” known for their first documentary, “Mile… Mile and a Half,” have just released their latest film, “Noatak: Return to the Arctic.” I interviewed Director Ric Serena who told me about the production challenges his team faced when working on a remote river deep in Alaska and why they chose to go with the Canon 1DC as their camera of choice.

Fstoppers Review of the Moza Lite II 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilizer for Compact Video Cameras

I’m a huge fan of gimbal stabilizers, and absolutely love how easy it is to get dreamy, floating footage with these relatively inexpensive accessories. A lot of attention has been on products like the MoVi and Ronin, but other manufacturers have stepped up their game and are making products that are just as competitive in terms of features and price. One such item is the Moza Lite II, which I’ve been reviewing for the last few weeks.

Video Editing Tricks When Cutting Together an Action Scene for Your Film

In this video from Ryan Connolly over at Film Riot, he takes viewers quickly through an action sequence he has edited, and shows a few simple ways that he was able to increase the perceived speed and create a more realistic edit. Even if you're not editing fight scenes, there are a few tricks in here that are absolutely applicable to other genres.

Yes! The Size of Your Camera Matters Because Most Clients are Not Filmmakers

Any seasoned filmmaker or photographer will tell you that it’s not the size of your camera, sensor, or lens that matters, but how you use it (or craft your supporting elements like lighting, composition, etc.). But what I’ve come to realize is that size does matter– because impressing a client on set is just as important as impressing them with the final product.